Hills are a valuable part of any training program, regardless of the race distance or the time you’re aiming to run. Hill workouts provide a number of benefits to make you a stronger, faster, more efficient and mentally tough runner.
Gwen Jorgensen announced her move from the marathon to the track earlier this month, as her extended recovery from heel surgery has temporarily derailed her marathon plans. Since moving to the track, Jorgensen has been documenting her workouts and recovery on YouTube, and her latest video shares a hill workout that, with some modifications, is fit for every runner.
Jorgensen, who trains with the Bowerman Track Club based out of Portland, Ore., says for this workout the team does a longer warmup of 40 to 60 minutes. For most runners (who aren’t Olympians) a 60-minute warmup might be a little long. Instead, make your warmup 25 per cent longer than your typical length in minutes.
Once they’re warmed up, the Bowerman group does 3 x 200m, 3 x 400m, and 3 x 200m hill repeats. Jorgensen says these are at no particular pace, and that the idea is to focus on form and strength. They recover on their way down the hill. With intervals like these, you don’t even need to wear a watch–the workout is all about running strong and maintaining form. You want to finish at a similar pace, or faster, to what you started at.
After their hill repeats, the runners head to a track to do eight 200m intervals to turn their legs over. If you don’t have a track conveniently located at the bottom of the hill you’re using (most don’t) then just add some post-hill fast strides.
Post-run strides only add about ten minutes to your run or workout, and can make a world of difference over the course of a build. Find, preferably, a softer surface to do five to six accelerations. These roughly 100m strides, when done a few times a week, will hugely impact your foot speed by the end of a 12- to 16-week build.